Cold calling is dead! You can't prospect over the phone in 2021!
Stop me if you've heard this before:
We're in a global pandemic!"
I need to build my Instagram fame."
If you're cold calling you're an idiot."
If you're making cold calls you deserve to be yelled at."
Cold calling is for fools."
- Jeffrey Gitomer On How To Make First Calls Not Cold Calls
- Cold Calling Queen Wendy Weiss on The Sales Podcast
- 4 Big Reasons Your Emails Aren't Opened (And How to Fix It)
Let me ask you something...
Have you ever bought someone's course with the idea/hope that you'd never cold call again...only to be let down?
If you sell B2B I can guarantee you two things about cold calling today:
- It's not only alive and well but you can make money with it faster than any other lead generation you are thinking of implementing, and
- You may be more effective with cold calling today to generate qualified appointments IF—AND ONLY IF—you do it correctly.
Objections to Cold Calling
But Wes, cold calling is so inefficient!"
...cold calling is is so intrusive."
...cold calling is so 2004."
...my DAD made cold calls. This isn't 1987."
...the truth is (between you and me) I'm scared to death of making cold calls...I don't know what to say...I get stumped too easily...and I get blown off if I ever reach a decision maker...so I scream and yell about how worthless it is while I waste time on LinkedIn trying to get someone to allow me to send them a quote."
When I first wrote this post back in 2017 it was immediately after having the pleasure of doing some early morning training for a fellow Texas Aggie and his team of 20+ for their monthly leadership training.
We had just spoken on the Wednesday prior to his upcoming Friday meeting and he mentioned he needed someone for that Friday at 6:45 AM Pacific, and asked if I could do it.
Being the professional that I am who is always ready, we made it happen.
Fourteen minutes after the training ended I received this email from them:
Everyone in the office is abuzz with how great (the session) was this morning. I think I speak for all of us when I say we all felt engaged with you and learned a lot."
And they want me back.
And you know what we covered?
Prospecting over the phone, i.e., cold calling.
They are in an "old-school industry" that requires picking up the phone to reach decision makers, set firm appointments with mutually agreed upon agendas, and get the truth from them to make the sale.
HINT: Learn how to do this in my free tool called The Sales Agenda.
The truth about prospecting and sales
Accept that there are two types of sales:
- The easy ones.
- The ones you don't get.
Wes, are you saying selling is easy or that prospecting is easy? WTH?"
Yes and no.
Tiger Woods makes hitting a 6-iron out of a fairway bunker 200 yards over water to within 10 feet of the cup on the 18th hole to win a golf tournament look easy because he:
- Practices perfectly…with a coach. (Wrong practice won't help you get better.)
- Trains daily…with a coach. (This is not the same as practicing).
- Records his practice and work…with a coach.
- Reviews his practice and work…with a coach.
- Focuses with the help…of a coach and/or assistant (caddie).
- Believes he can…with the help of a coach.
- Surrounds himself with people that foster all of the above…especially a coach.
Do you see a trend there?
Do you treat selling as a profession?
Do you prospect daily?
Do you set appointments with yourself to do what needs to be done, no matter what?
Do you train to improve your prospecting skills daily?
Do you track and record your work? (I recorded my phone calls and reviewed them and strategized about them for a solid year with a sales coach I paid $10,000 in 2007 to help me get better. What are you spending your money on?)
Do you focus intently when you do practice, train and work? (Turn off the chat, the Skype, the Social Media, the email for extended periods of time and get it done!)
Do you believe you can hit your numbers and goals? (Which way is your spiral?)
Do you surround yourself with people that help you reach your numbers and goals? (Or do you hang out with those that are not striving, therefore, you're all comfortable getting fat as sloth creeps in and becomes the norm?
Two things I learned in the Air Force back in 1988 have served me well to this day:
- Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
- Daily Discipline Done Diligently Determines Destiny.
If you do neither you have a long row to hoe. When you do both you'll win a lot more sales and they'll be easy.
Ready for some hard preparation and easy sales?
Are you ready to Dig Deep?
Obviously the image / flow chart above is a bit tongue-in-cheek but after being in sales for decades and working with thousands of sales people around the world, you and I know that it does hit a little too close to home because it's based in truth.
When you're hungry, desperate, and behind the 8-ball and jump into prospecting with no plan and looking at prospects as "marks to close" instead of humans to help you're in for a long and bumpy road.
Have a good phone script
This is how I feel when I hear "Hi, how are you?" from a cold call.
Know how to open your prospecting call.
In fact, know how to handle every step along the way of your ABCDE Sales and Marketing System™. (You do have a system, don't you?)
You only have one chance to make a great first impression.
This has never been more true than when you're on the phone.
Be sure you're in a quiet place with a good connection, a good headset, and a solid, proven script.
A script? A SCRIPT!? I can't use a script on the phone, Wes! It takes away my natural style. I feel like a robot when I use a script! Scripts just don't work for me. Never have. Never will. Nope. Not gonna use a script."
I know and I agree with you.
I agree that BAD scripts won't work.
They will make you feel like a robot and they do take away your natural style and you are NOT yourself when you're following a bad script that does not allow your personality—to a degree—to shine through.
So have the discipline and professionalism to test several openings—or use those offered and tested in the private sales training community—so you know what opening works best for:
- Executive assistants
- Mid-level managers
- C-Suite executives
- Mom-and-pop small businesses
- Medium-sized businesses
- Businesses in the South vs the North vs the Mid-West vs the West
- Early-morning calls and After-hours calls (when you get the executive answering their own phones because they're still hustling and their hourly people have either not gotten in yet or left for the day)
Pro-Tip: Pay attention to everything about how your prospect answers the phone including:
- How they state their name, i.e.
- "Wes Schaeffer here."
- "Hi, this is Wes."
- "It's a great day at The Sales Whisperer®, you got Wes here. How can I help?"
- "This is Wes."
- "This is Wes. How can I help you?"
- Background sounds
- Totally quiet
- In a car
- On a speaker phone
- At the airport
- At a ballgame
- In the restroom (it happens more than I wish!)
- Lots of office chatter in the background
- Kids in the background
- Tonality, speed, volume, accent, vocabulary
Everything above gives you a lot of insight in under three seconds. But you must first be listening for it and second, you must know how to adjust your delivery to best match their preferred communication style.
Why did we cover prospecting over the phone?
Because prospecting is the #1 job of a sales person.
But Wes, closing is the #1 job. Getting the money is the #1 job. Shutting down that prospect and getting them to Sign. On. The. Line. Which. Is. Dotted."
You know what's dead?
And as long as you have that attitude, cold calling will be dead to you. Which means your career as a sales person is limited along with your earning potential.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Smart marketers are using the Facey Bookey to go live, to drive to a VSL on a squeeze page with a pixel to retarget to a trip wire to a self-liquidating offer to an ascension model and a continuity plan with a drip sequence with mobile-responsive forms with domain masking and SMS sequences with artificial intelligence running bots that build followers so you have someone to watch your Facey Bookey Live...
And that can and does work, BUT...
- It takes time.
- It takes money.
- It takes expertise.
- It takes split testing and segmentation and frequency and...and...and...
- And you should do it.
- It will work. It does work.
But what if you're not in charge of marketing at your company?
What if you don't have a budget for it now?
How to stop making Cold Calls
Want to know how to get the budget to implement inbound marketing and marketing automation and SEM and PPC and all the things you hear all the cool kids doing?
Pick up the phone and make a sale.
Great marketing makes sales easy...but...
Great selling makes great marketing possible.
Earlier today a developer friend of mine said that...
Companies are life support systems for salespeople!"
To which I replied
Salespeople are cocoon-builders for developers."
So if you want to stop making cold calls but you don't have the budget or expertise to create inbound sales...get good at making cold calls.
I know it's not what you want to hear but like they say in the South...
If you gotta eat a frog, there ain't no use in staring at it. And if you have to eat more than one, eat the biggest one first."
But you can take comfort in the fact that...
Nothing happens until a sale is made.
The fastest way to make a sale is to pick up the phone.
The fastest way to be effective on the phone (and every other part of sales, marketing, and being a successful entrepreneur) is to get a mentor that has been there, done that, and is still doing that effectively.
You can learn from and pick that mentor's brain and get all of his videos and access to his private group in the Make Every Sale program...
You have 365 days to try it out with a no-questions-asked money back guarantee.
I know. I know. I'm a giver.
Head on over there now and watch the recordings from weekly session where I went DEEP into the personas and buying profiles of three members who now have great clarity on how to prospect, market, and make every sale in their niches.